In this, the final stanza of Suzanne Collins’ tale of Katniss Everdeen, we return to Panem and the beginning of the rebellion and the war against the Capital. The story picks up shortly after Katniss is rescued by the rebellion from the arena of the Quarter Quell and brought back to District 13.
Throughout the first half of this story I continually found myself annoyed with Katniss. She seemed so weak, and unwilling to take control of her own life; waiting for others to determine her place, her destiny. The internal battle she fought to find her own path was wonderfully told, but I did find I had to keep reminding myself that Katniss is just a teenager, not an adult, though I’m sure many adults would struggle with these choices as well.
Collins weaves a tale of brutality and anguish that is quite surprising, namely for a story meant for young adults and teens. I truly appreciated the detail and violence both in District 13 and in the battle for the capital. This reality is shoved at the reader who all too often expects a happy ending and is forced to acknowledge that life is filled with disappointment, hurt, and even evil. I found myself wondering how I would act in a world like Panem. The sheer darkness of this book is refreshing in a world that too often forces us to try to put a happy spin on everything.
As we are introduced to District 13 and the future leaders of Panem, it is obvious that the plan for a new government run by the districts has the potential to be just as cruel as the Capital. This fact is slowly realized by Katniss, who now has to choose who’s side she’s truly on. This was a fascinating journey and Katniss’ final action, where she shows all where she stands was surprising, yet believable. The reaction from the new leadership to Katniss’ choice showed a glimmer of hope for mankind in Panem.
This final chapter of “The Hunger Games” trilogy was by far the best with a surprisingly acceptable ending. All too often some books aren’t able to end a good story or the story ends with a strategy to leave it open for another book. This story required not a happy ending nor an apocalyptic one either, but more so, a realistic, believable ending which is what was provided. I will definitely read this story again sometime, which is saying quite a bit for me. I strongly recommend this book, but I also recommend parents be mindful of their younger children reading it as this book is much more violent and graphic than the first two.